A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Eph 6:10-18
…save for God!
For with God all things are possible!
We cannot do this in our own power… we must be Spirit-empowered! During our prayer time Dr. Terry Wardle reminded us that the Holy Spirit is not just a theological concept, but the very real presence of God, and this presence of God dwells within us!
Think of this a moment: Jesus came and made his dwelling among us (John 1). But following his resurrection and before his ascension into heaven, he appeared before the disciples, breathed on them, and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20). And somewhere in this exchange of oxygen, carbon dioxide, and breath, the Holy Spirit came and made his dwelling within us. The disciples weren’t the first to be filled with the Spirit of God. John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb! And there are also several references in the Old Testament of people being filled with His Spirit (Moses, Bezalel, Micah). And before he ascended to heaven, Jesus Christ made this infilling available to all believers of The Way.
We breathe Him in
and breathe Him out!
In both the Hebrew and Greek the word for breath and Spirit are the same (ruah and pneuma). And we have often seen that things in the natural often reveal the work of God in the spiritual. The same is true of breath/Spirit in the natural, physical sense and in the spiritual realm:
- We need to breathe the Spirit constantly (Eph 6:18)
- We need a fresh supply of the Spirit (Eph 5:18)
- Sometimes we need to breathe more—pant! (Ps 42:1)
- Sometimes we need to catch our breath (I Kgs 19:3-5)
- We never want to hold our breath (Jhn 15:6)
And this is even more true when we are in battle. And, believe me, life here on earth is a battle. We need to suit up in the armor of God and gird ourselves with the Word of God AND PRAYER! So often we read this passage and stop “suiting up” in God’s armor at the Sword of Truth—God’s Word, but notice that prayer is a weapon too! The Message translation says it this way:
You’re up against far more than you can handle on your own.
Take all the help you can get,
every weapon God has issued,
so that when it’s all over but the shouting
you’ll still be on your feet.
Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words.
Learn how to apply them.
You’ll need them throughout your life.
God’s Word is an indispensable weapon.
In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare.
The tactics of the enemy are fought back by the Truth of God’s Word and the power of Spirit-empowered prayer! We are on our best offensive attack when we are armed with Truth and Spirit (Jhn 4:24). The Message goes on to say:
Pray hard and long.
Pray for your brothers and sisters.
Keep your eyes open.
Keep each other’s spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out.
Brothers and sisters, I pray for you! In the words of Paul,
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources
he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (Eph 3:16)
Be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might!
Today I leave you with a breathwork exercise based on John 20. It is specifically designed as a Christ-centered breath awareness exercise for those who are working through complex trauma, but truthfully anyone can benefit from this scripture-based time of breath meditation.
During this Lenten season and always, may you live a Spirit-empowered life breathing in the presence of God at work in you!
Creative blessings, Jody